Popular Music, Social Practice and Cultural Politics.


In fact the general feeling was that it was a passing phase. But this was not to be because Rap took a very serious turn in the late 1980’s when the “bubble gum” kind of rap evolved into the more serious kind of “Gangsta Rap”. From very humble beginnings, Gangsta rap made a huge name for itself and flooded the mainstream markets that generated not only huge profits but widespread popularity to the rapping artists as well as the labels that sold them. Popular rappers started writing harsh and edgy lyrics that celebrated street warfare, the use of drugs and also glorified promiscuity. They experienced place-based identity with LA deeming itself to be “fresh territory” with a high “novelty value and stories of gang conflict and police confrontations. The identity of the rapper was his hood which he used most of the time.

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Eithne Quinn, takes a long hard look at the genre of Gangsta rap and gives us a rich and insightful analysis in relation to contemporary culture. Quinn finds contradictory statements as she explores the ideologies, the intricacies and the culture of the Black working class. Nuthin But a “G” Thang shows how Gansta rap is not simply a pop culture fad but instead embodies profound shifts in American culture and everyday life.” (S. Craig Watkins, author of Representing: Hip Hop Culture and the Production of Black Cinema)

Quinn enumerates that the social group involved in Gangsta Rap were the people who were considered to be in crisis and these included the black youth from poor homes who were all out to make money. On the other hand, a major part of the society in general and other public figures and proponents of respectable “family values” did not take well to the fast life-styles and blatantly charged lyrics which incited a lot of distaste and anger in them.

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